We are in the midst of summer. During these months, many people head to the beach and visit great resort areas such as Hilton Head or Panama City. Many others will cool off with a mountain breeze in the Smokies or on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Now is the time for rest, relaxation, and recovery.
Unfortunately, many people in business do not see the need for a vacation. Or worse, they feel guilty if they do head to the beach for a few weeks. To achieve at the highest level and reach their goals, many business people believe they need to work 80 hours a week and never take a timeout. Lee Iacocca, of Chrysler fame and a well-respected leader, has said, “I have seen many executives who have said to me with pride, ‘Boy, I worked so hard last year that I did not even take a vacation.’” To Iacocca, such thinking was foolish. He believes that if you can take responsibility for an $80 million project, then you should be able to plan two weeks for some needed fun.
Lee Iacocca knew that to be at your best throughout the year, you need recovery time. Our minds and bodies must have recovery time. If not given, you are headed for a tumble. Just look at how we build muscle. When we lift weights, we stress our muscles beyond normal levels. As an adaptive response to this overload, our muscles produce protein stimulating an increase in muscle fiber and muscle growth.
However, if you continue to overload the muscles without giving them adequate recovery time, your muscles will shrink. Our muscles need recovery time to continue its growth cycle.
When you take vacations, you are giving yourself the needed recovery time to continue your growth cycle. In direct contrast, when you continue to work without taking a vacation or a short break, you will begin to shrink mentally and/or emotionally. This shrinkage may come in the form of loss of focus, increase in anxiety and depression, and/or burnout.
So this summer when you are on your vacation, don’t just think of it as a time to shut off and decompress. But enjoy it more because our vacations are an essential time which help us with our growth as a person.
Dr. Gregg Steinberg is a professor of human performance at Austin Peay State University. He is the author of the Washington Post bestselling business book, “Full Throttle.” Steinberg coaches executives and speaks about emotional toughness to Fortune 500 companies. Visit www.drgreggsteinberg.com and see his TED talk about super-resilience at http://tinyurl.com/o2anxsz. Dr Gregg Steinberg is an inspirational and motivational business speaker that lives in Nashville with his wife and son, Myles, and their Italian greyhound, Bohdi.